University IVs – 29th Oct – 2nd Nov 2012

M1 – First Coxed Four Winners

Quarter-Final – Won against Queens’ M1 (2 seconds)
A last scratch from Jesus gave us a bye through the first round and set us up with a quarter-final against Queens’ M1 (last year’s joint winners). We started from the upstream station allowing Will to focus on the corners from his bow-loaded position and the crew to push away from the chasing Queens’ boat. After a good start we were flying down First Post Reach and took a tight line round First Post Corner – we knew we could beat Queens’. However it became apparent on Grassy Corner that there was a problem with the rudder; we scraped round the outside of the bend Will frantically calling for bowside pressure! After an awesome lift out of the corner to help salvage our loss of speed, we had cornering problems around Ditton as well. On the Reach we were on station with Queens’ and as we went through the finish it was too close to call. Official verdict – dead heat; this meant we had a re-row straight away! Second time round, despite being tired, we smashed the start and took an early lead. Will’s cornering was better having removed the significant amount of debris that had been obstructing the rudder. Queens’ were not going to beaten easily though and it took a huge push in the last minute to assure a narrow victory, officially just two seconds

Semi-Final – Won against Christ’s M1 (16 seconds)
Finals Friday presented us with the possibility of rowing twice in the afternoon; the re-row of the previous day had us prepped and ready for this eventuality! We got off to an impressive start from our downstream station; our rowing felt smooth and comfortable as we tour along First Post Reach. Within ten strokes we were noticeably gaining on Christ’s who could see us catching them, but never really responded to the threat. We lifted out of Grassy onto a powerful rhythm that lifted the bows out of the water and had us flying along. After three tight lines around the corners (much improved on the previous day) and a brilliant response to lifts, Christ’s were beaten. We had found an awesome rhythm and boat speed that could potentially win us the competition if we could recreate it in the final.

Final – Won against Caius M1 (3 seconds)
In the final we were facing Caius M1, who knocked us out in last year’s semis. Again we were on the downstream station, determination consumed us – King’s had not won Uni IVs for several years, this was our chance. After a great start we were up on our rhythm, allowing the boat to flow under us, really attacking the course into the first corner. Caius had taken an early lead, but the crew was not aware of this – we still had the belief. After two extremely tight lines around First Post and Grassy, we took the boat speed up a notch and started to make our move on Caius. In front of the Plough they were approx. a length ahead – only a couple of precious seconds to get back. As we rounded Ditton, Will could see Caius splashing about in the headwind – we gritted our teeth, sat up tall and held our form in the wind. As we stormed up the Reach we drew back on station and pushed on through to a powerful finish. It took several tantalising minutes for the official result to be announced, but finally it came – we had won by three seconds.
Result: University IVs – First Coxed Four – Winners

M2 – Second Coxed Four Runners Up

Quarter-Final – Won against LMBC M3 (81 seconds)
Having been lucky in the draw and securing a bye through the first round, we lined up for the quarter final feeling fresh and ready to race. We were starting from the upstream station, meaning we would be able to see how far ahead we were throughout the race. We got off to a good start, hitting one of the best rhythms we had managed in our short time as a four. It quickly became apparent that LMBC were not going to keep up with our pace, but we held our rate and pushed them away through the corners just in case they put in a sudden burst! Once we got onto the Long Reach we were sure they were not going to catch us, so Ben settled us into a slightly more relaxed rhythm to hold through to the finish. Despite this drop in intensity we still set the fastest time of the second division, covering the course in 7 minutes 51 seconds.

Semi-Final – Won against Downing M2 (11 seconds)
Following our success on the Thursday, we knew we would have to pull out two equal, if not better, performances on Friday if we were to win the competition. This time we were starting on the downstream station, so we had to rely on Ben’s feedback to know how we were doing against Downing. The rhythm we hit off the start was good, but perhaps not quite our best, so we pushed hard when Ben called for it. When he told us we were gaining, this only served to make us push even harder. Despite the Long Reach being rough with a strong head wind, we held our lead to the finish to secure our place in the final.

Final – Lost to Queens’ M2 (6 seconds)
We had made it to the final. We knew Queens’ M2 were fast, so when we lined up on the upstream station nerves were on edge. Queens’ started well, but had we. Straight into our fast, strong, and controlled rhythm – with the boats on station the corners would test both coxes to bring their crew out ahead. By the time we were passing the Plough, we looked to be slightly in front of Queens’. However, as we came onto the Reach we were hit by a stronger headwind than we expected. Despite our best efforts to hold off Queens’, we could see them gaining – they were coping with the headwind better. Ben did all he could to lift us up and we appeared to stop Queens’ gaining, but it was too little too late. No number of power tens could recover the lost ground. We had a demoralizing moment of realisation when we saw their finish marshal lower his arm before we had crossed the line. The crew was understandably very disappointed, but we were proud of our achievement. We had still made it to the final and given it our all.
Result: University IVs – Second Coxed Four – Runners Up

Crew lists:
M1: [Cox] Will Miller, [Bow] Alge Wallis, [2] Paddy Buchanan, [3] Joel Wilson, [Stroke] Lachlan Jardine
M2: [Bow] Andre Thunot, [2] Neil Paul, [3] Craig Lambert, [Stroke] Conor Burgess, [Cox] Ben Alexander-Dann

M1 collecting their medals in Goldie Boathouse Captain’s Room